Having girl dogs means that unless the bitch is spayed, you will have to contend with hormones, seasons, phantom pregnancies and the like. My house is only big enough for one set of girlie hormones and I’m afraid they’re mine! For this reason, I opt to have boy dogs in my life but the boys do come with their own sex-specific problems too. One of those “problems” is the production of a discharge from the penis, and often excessive licking (and slurping!)
The discharge is usually of a milky appearance and may have a yellow or green kind of tinge to it. This discharge is totally normal in male dogs who have not been neutered and is called smegma. Some dogs produce more than others and the amount can be affected when the dog becomes aroused or is aware of a bitch in heat (as he ejaculates). Another thing that could result in “gunk” at the tip of the sheath could merely be dried urine if it is more crusty in appearance.
This smegma is generally made up of semen (hence why we say it is entirely normal in intact males) and sebum which the body produces to clean the area. If this discharge is becoming a problem as he leaves what my friend described as “willy custard” marks (sorry, I know that’s gross) on your carpets or furniture, then the only real solution is to have him neutered either permanently with surgery or as a chemical castration.
A temporary fix for this problem is something called a belly band. This length of fabric can be worn around the dog’s middle to cover the opening of the sheath and prevent drips and splodges on your soft furnishings. It is also used for incontinent dogs and those dogs who can’t resist scent marking when you are visiting friends and new places.
I have to say I’m not mad keen on these for any real length of time as it is possible that they cause a warm, moist environment where bacteria would flourish. If you decide that something of this type might be beneficial for you, please ensure you get a washable version and keep it washed regularly.
If, however, your dog has been neutered and you are seeing this discharge, it could well indicate that there is infection present, particularly if he is licking the penis excessively. If you also notice him peeing more often than usual, in small amounts, it could well be that he also has a bladder infection. A trip to the vet just to be sure is strongly advised. If possible, please take a fresh urine sample with you so that your vet can test for the presence of bacteria which obviously would require antibiotics as this is a very uncomfortable problem.
(See our blog on taking a urine sample to help you with this – or wear a rain coat!)